When students become disengaged during the lesson, some teachers stop their lessons and say: “I can wait until everyone is paying attention.” and then wait for the pupils to reengage. This break in lesson momentum is a mistake.
This (and other) invasive redirection strategies bring the lesson to a grinding halt and lead other students to disengage while the teacher attempts to redirect the first student. What else to do?
When a lesson is interrupted:
1. Look for kids doing the right thing and thank them for displaying appropriate behavior. (Describe those actions.)
2. Use an “I”-centered statement: “I need for everyone to have their lips sealed, ears open, and eyes on me.”
3. Use one of the attention getting strategies mentioned in a recent post.
4. Engage the attentive kids in a task, and then use a quiet question as you enter the proximity of the errant learners: “What do you need to do right now in order to keep… (“yourself out of the Dean’s office”; “your points”; “me off the phone with your parents”). Phrase your question so that a “pay off” is presented (obtaining something desirable or avoiding an awful outcome). Avoid suggesting more inappropriate action: “If you continue to talk, you’re going to the office.”
Need more information on how to phrase your utterances? Check out this video: http://behavioradvisor.com/Webinar.html